Royal kumAra worshippers

The Shunga coins: The late Maurya and Shunga period has the square coins of the Ujjain series bearing the image of kumAra. They constructed several idols of kumAra in Mathura (175-50 BC).

The Kushanas: The kumAra coins, especially Huvishka’s with the legends: skanda kumAra vishAkha or skanda kumAra mahAsena vishAkha. Constructed ShaShThi and kumAra temples in Mathura (0-100 AD).

The yaudheya republic
of Punjab/Haryana was administered by its leaders in the name of brAhmaNya deva, kArttikeya. There are many yaudheya coins with 6 headed kumAra, kumAra and ShaShThi and one headed kumAra (100-330).

ikShvAkus of Andhra: several kings named after kArttikeya namely skandashrI, skandasAgara and skanda-vishAkha. One queen is named ShaShThishrI. Associated with the ikShvAkus were governors who were also kumAra worshippers. These included: skanda-shItakiraNa of the hiraNyaka clan, skandagopa of the puShyaskandIya family, senapati kumAra the commander of the army stationed at maNgalAraNaya. Their inscriptions states that they were devotees of mahAsena and were able to build a temple to sharva due to the grace of kArttikeya (270-330 AD).

The nalas of Orissa: The nalas are a little known dynasty with considerable local power in Orissa ruling from their capital of puShkari (Near modern day Nawarangpur). In two of their surviving copper plates from Kesaribeda (rAjA arthapati) and Rithapur (rAjA bhavadatta-varman) we find the the header describing their line as “maheshvara-mahAsenAtisR^iShTa rAjya vibhavaH”. Thus they believed their dynasty had come to power due to the grace of the great god kArttikeya. One of the kings in the dynasty whose name appears on some inscriptions is named skandavarman supporting their kaumAra devotion (300-400 AD).

gupta empire: kumAra and ShaShThi are shown in several gupta coins. Multiple gupta kings are named kumAragupta (after kumAra) and one skandagupta (skanda), both the first kumAragupta and skandagupta were great heroes of the Hindus, who protected India from the Huns. There is a at least one cave temple of the guptas which contains a giant image of kArttikeya (320-550 AD).

Pallavas: The names of several pallava kings bear the epithets of kumAra. Their early major king was skandavarman the performer of many vedic sacrifices, including the horse sacrifice. His grandson was named skandashishya who expanded the Pallava domain. Following him there are many rulers with names like skandavarman and kumAra-viShNu. Another king nR^isimha- varman rAjasimha of the pallavas compares himself in valor to kumAra the wielder of the shakti in an inscription in the kailAshanatha temple in Kanchipuram. A pallava king nandivarman mentions a grant to a kaumAra Acharya at a temple at Nellore (275-901 AD).

Kadambas: This brahminical dynasty arose after an arrogant Pallava horseman insulted the brahmin scholar mayUrasharman studying at the university in Kanchi. He took to war against the pallavas and founded his own kingdom in Maharashtra, Andhra and TN. One of his surviving inscription states that he was anointed rAjan by ShaDAnana. They took their name after the holy tree of kumAra and his female gana lohitAyani-the kadamba plant. A king of this line had the name kumAravarman (345-565 AD).

Chalukyas: The plates of the chAlukyas chartered by kIrtivarman indicate that kumAra was their patron deity and is said to have provided them with the boon of founding a long-lived dynasty (Mid-500 AD). viShNuvardhana I also mentions in an inscription that he was rendered prosperous by mahAsena who had crushed the dAnavas. There are some Chalukya gold coins with kumAra icons known from 600s minted by the king vikramAditya son of pulakeshin II and the famous kumAra temples of Bezwada, Humkarashankari and Chebrole built by yuddhamalla and other chAlukyas.

After this period kumAra suddenly goes out of vogue, especially in north India, and also over the large part of south India, except for the folk cult in the Dravida country. The early kaumara tantra’s development corresponds to the period when there were several royal patrons of kumAra worship. These tantras were largely forgotten and lost there after. The revival of the technical kaumara srotas in South India occurred circa 900-1000 ACE when the kaumAra tantrics from Bengal arrived in Bellary and established the kumAra tapovanas for the worship of the 6-headed deva.

~ by mAnasa-taraMgiNI on October 28, 2005.

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